Week 17 Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe Eagles certainly had the opportunity they wanted in Week 16 as they hosted the surprising Washington Redskins. But instead of setting themselves up to win the division by beating Washington, the Eagles got hammered. Sam Bradford has never looked comfortable under center for this team, and Eagles fans can only hope he can turn it up a notch in 2016.The Giants were eliminated from the NFC East race when the Redskins punished the Eagles, and they played their Week 16 game at Minnesota as if the season was already over. Quarterback Eli Manning has had a good statistical season with 4,134 passing yards and a 33-14 TD-interception ratio, but he struggled badly against the Vikings.
- OffenseThe Eagles thought they were getting an All-Pro running back when they brought in DeMarco Murray, but the former Cowboy has not fit in with Chip Kelly’s scheme. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews has had a fine season with 78 catches, and he has shown the ability to make the big catch. Zach Ertz is a legitimate target at the TE spot, but rookie Nelson Agholor has been a disappointment.The Giants fell apart in Week 16 without superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and their ability to move the ball and make big plays should improve as he returns from his one-game suspension. Rueben Randle has had flashes this year, but the Giants are hoping that Victor Cruz can return next year to give them a superb 1-2 punch at the WR position. The running game has been a disappointment.
- DefenseThe Eagles have had a number of games this year where their defense has fallen apart, and that includes the Week 16 loss to the Redskins. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins simply tore them apart, and they have been quite vulnerable against good quarterbacks all season. Free safety Malcolm Jenkins had a team-high 100 tackles, but the Eagles ranked 29th in yards allowed this season.The Giants have been abominable on defense this year, and their performance in a Week Eight 52-49 loss at New Orleans underscored the team’s inability to cover a crew of decent receivers. The Giants rank 31st in yards allowed, and if that defense had been middle-of-the-pack, the Giants might be a championship contender. Jason Pierre-Paul has struggled to contribute since returning at midseason.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles have had a decent year on special teams, but that’s a bit of a comedown from the last couple of years when they were dominant. Darren Sproles is an exciting return specialist who brought two punts back for touchdowns. Caleb Sturgis is an ordinary placekicker.The Giants have had one of the best special-teams performances this season, as they have gotten a huge lift from Dwayne Harris who has brought back both a punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown. PK Josh Brown has made 27-of-29 FG attempts, including 3-of-3 from 50 yards and beyond.
Both teams have been major disappointments, but we see the Giants responding with a much better effort than they put forth at Minnesota last week. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports